“I feel like I need to do something perfectly, and if I can’t, there’s something wrong with me.”

– One of the young women interviewed for the whitepaper recently released by the Global Supply Chain Institute in the Haslam School of Business at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. This reference to “the perfection trap” is one of the topics covered in the report, “Young Professionals Perspectives on Supply Chain Diversity and Inclusion.”

“It is so important for young college women to have strong and courageous mentors and role models. Surrounding ourselves with confident leadership and accomplished women inspire and encourage us to pursue our goals and take risks.”

— Kendall Grafton, president of the student organization NeXxus at the University of Tennessee Knoxville after hearing remarks from Heather Sheehan, who was selected by NeXxus as Outstanding Woman in Supply Chain.

“When women see other women in a position of leadership, it reframes what they think is possible to them.”

— Kat Cole, chief operating officer and president of North America for Focus Brands Inc., whose chains include Cinnabon, Jamba Juice and Auntie Anne’s, as quoted in Wall Street Journal article on how sexual harassment and the gender gap are related.

“We’re not just playing catch-up. We’re going beyond where women in our field have ever gone.

“We’re not just playing catch-up. We’re going beyond where women in our field have ever gone. We’re going to reach that place where gender doesn’t stop a woman or slow her down or make her divert her course…where men and women have equal power and potential…where we truly understand how to create a corporate culture that brings out the best in everybody…and where our profession attracts the brightest young women because it’s a land of opportunity.”

— Ann Drake, founder of AWESOME and CEO of DSC Logistics, in opening remarks at the 2017 Symposium.

Below are excerpts from Words of Wisdom in REALITY CHECK – Volume Six, recording comments by participants in the 2017 AWESOME Symposium.

“People say leadership is lonely and it is. You’re going to have to do things that are unpopular. But that’s when we need to say, ‘If I choose not to do this, if I choose not to lead this, if I choose not to break through and solve this problem, then who will?’”

“We know what it’s like to have that extra scrutiny that comes with being a woman or a minority – the first of your kind to stand in front as the leader, but what an opportunity it turns out to be, an opportunity to redefine what it means to be a leader.”

“A mentor and a sponsor are two different things. A mentor is about teaching and providing guidance. A sponsor is somebody who’s willing to stand up for you and say ‘hey this person is best for this job. She should make this career move and I bet my career that she will be successful.’”

“I am making sure that every candidate list I review includes the names of qualified women and minorities, and it’s not as simple as it sounds. You have to stand up and demand it and refuse to look at lists that do not.”

Download REALITY CHECK – Volume Six

“I never dreamed of being a corporate leader when I was a young woman.”

Ann Drake, CEO of DSC Logistics and founder of AWESOME in an interview with Supply Chain Quarterly. She continues, “But finding myself here, I enjoy watching people grow and helping them grow, meeting challenges head on and rising above them, working together on different, complex challenges, and making customers happy. Those are all really rewarding.”

“Every one of you acts as the standard bearer for your colleagues, for your staff, for students who come and intern at your company and for your own daughters.”

— Jackie Sturm, recipient of the 2016 AWESOME Legendary Leadership Award, referring to how women can further their own career prospects and those of other women. Read more of Jackie’s comments at the AWESOME Symposium, as well as insights from Annette Clayton, Jackie’s co-recipient.

“We see the beauty of power and the power of beauty. We see old stereotypes fall and a new generation rise. We see women in motion and in their element. We see beauty and bravado, gutsiness and grace, rivalry and revelry. We see joy. We see her and her and her and we see the future. We see athletes.”

— Inspiring words from the Nike video that opened the 2016 AWESOME Symposium hosted by NIKE, Inc. in April. Serena Williams was the voice-over for the video, which reflects Nike’s view that “If you have a body, you are an athlete.”